Interview

17 Bartender Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a bartender, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Bartenders play a pivotal role in the hospitality industry, and their skills are in high demand. They must be able to mix drinks quickly and efficiently, as well as provide great customer service. Bartenders must also be able to handle money and keep track of inventory.

If you’re looking for a job as a bartender, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. One way to prepare for this important meeting is to learn how to answer bartender interview questions before talking with an interviewer.

Employers look for bartenders who are responsible, reliable, and able to work under pressure. You’ll also need to have a good knowledge of spirits, beer, and wine. A bartending interview is your chance to show that you’ve polished these skills to a shine. To help you get ready, we’ve listed bartender questions and answers that will help you figure out what you want to say during an interview.

What do you think are the most important skills for a bartender?

Bartending is a skill that requires many different abilities. Employers ask this question to see if you have the skills they are looking for in their bartenders. Before your interview, read through the job description and highlight the most important skills. Use these skills as examples when answering this question.

Example: “I think communication and multitasking skills are the most important skills for a bartender. As a bartender, I am constantly talking with customers about what drinks they want or how they are enjoying their experience. I also need to be able to make multiple drinks at once while paying attention to my other responsibilities like collecting payment and making sure everyone has enough drinks.”

Have you ever created a new cocktail? If so, can you tell us about it?

Bartenders often have the opportunity to create new drinks for their customers. This question helps employers see if you are willing to try something new and how creative you can be when it comes to mixing drinks. If you haven’t created a drink before, you can talk about your willingness to do so and what steps you would take to come up with a new cocktail.

Example: “I’ve never had the chance to create my own cocktail, but I am always looking for ways to mix things up at work. I think I would start by asking my coworkers what ingredients they like in their cocktails. Then, I would look through our inventory to find different liquors that could go well together. After that, I would experiment with different combinations until I found one that tasted good.”

Do you have any experience working with a POS system?

Bartenders often use point-of-sale systems to record their sales and track inventory. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience using a POS system, as it’s an important part of the job. If you don’t have any experience with a POS system, consider asking your bartender friends about how they use one. You can also look up tutorials online to learn more about how these systems work.

Example: “I’ve never worked in a bar that used a POS system before, but I do have some experience working with cash registers at my current job. I’m familiar with how to enter different types of transactions into a register and how to use the receipt printer. I think I could easily adapt to using a POS system if I had to.”

What do you do if a customer appears to be intoxicated and wants to order another drink?

Bartenders often have to make judgment calls about whether a customer is intoxicated. Employers ask this question to see if you can handle these situations effectively and safely. In your answer, explain how you would assess the situation and decide what action to take.

Example: “I once had a regular customer who came in every Friday night for a drink. He was usually very friendly, but one Friday he seemed more drunk than usual. I asked him if he wanted another drink, and he said yes. I told him that it was his last drink of the night because I didn’t want him driving home too intoxicated. He agreed and only ordered one more drink.”

Have you ever had to deal with an unhappy customer? How did you handle the situation?

Bartenders often have to deal with unhappy customers. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to handle these situations and keep them from happening too often. In your answer, explain what you did to resolve the situation. Show that you can be a problem solver and friendly customer service representative.

Example: “I once had an upset customer who was looking for a specific drink on our menu. I told him we didn’t have it but offered some alternatives. He wasn’t happy with any of my suggestions, so I made up a new cocktail based on his preferences. It turned out to be one of our most popular drinks, and he loved it. He came back later in the night to tell me how much he enjoyed it.”

What would you do if we ran out of one of the ingredients for a drink that a customer ordered?

Bartenders often need to improvise when they run out of ingredients. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the creativity and problem-solving skills needed for the job. In your answer, explain how you would find a substitute ingredient or create a new drink that tastes similar to the original one.

Example: “If I ran out of an ingredient while making a customer’s drink, I would first apologize to them and offer them another drink on the house. Then, I would try to find a substitute ingredient that is as close in taste as possible. If there was no alternative ingredient, I would tell the customer that we are out of that ingredient and offer them a different drink at half price.”

Can you tell us about a time when you had to multitask effectively while bartending?

Bartending is a job that requires you to multitask. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience with multitasking and how well you can do it. When answering, try to think of an example from your previous bartending experience where you had to multitask. Explain what you did in the situation and how it helped you complete your tasks more efficiently.

Example: “When I was working at my last bar, we were hosting a large event. We needed to make sure all our customers got their drinks quickly while also making sure they were made correctly. To help me multitask effectively, I organized everything I needed for each drink before starting them. This allowed me to focus on one task at a time without having to look around for supplies or ingredients.”

Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.

Bartenders often have the opportunity to make a customer’s night. Employers ask this question to see if you are willing to go above and beyond for their customers. They want to know that you will be friendly, helpful and attentive when they work with them. Think about a time when you went out of your way to help someone. Explain what motivated you to do so.

Example: “I once had a regular who came in every Friday night. He would always order the same thing, but one week he didn’t come in. I was worried something happened to him, so I called his home number. It turns out he was sick, but he appreciated me checking on him. After that, I made sure to call all my regulars after two weeks without seeing them.”

What do you think is the most important trait for a successful bartender?

Bartending is a unique position that requires you to be friendly, attentive and organized. Employers ask this question to see if you have the skills necessary for their bar. When answering this question, think about what makes bartenders successful in your experience. Consider traits like communication, multitasking and customer service.

Example: “I believe the most important trait for a bartender is empathy. As a bartender, I am often serving people who are celebrating or commiserating with friends. It’s important to me that I can understand how they’re feeling and provide them with a drink that will make them feel better. In my last role, I had a regular customer who was going through a divorce. I always made sure to check on her when she came in so I could offer support.”

Do you have any questions for us about the bartending position?

Employers ask this question to see if you have any additional questions about the job. They want to make sure that you are prepared for your bartending position and understand what is expected of you. When preparing for this question, think about anything you might not know about the role or company. Try to come up with a few questions so that you can show you are interested in learning more.

Example: “I do have one question for you. I noticed that there are two bartenders working at once during peak hours. I am wondering how you decide who works when? Do you rotate shifts or does someone get first choice?”

How would your friends describe you?

Bartending is a social job, so employers ask this question to make sure you’re friendly and outgoing. They want bartenders who can get along with others and have fun while they work. When answering this question, think about what your friends would say about you that’s positive. Try to focus on personality traits rather than physical ones.

Example: “My friends would probably describe me as someone who’s always up for an adventure. I’m always looking for new things to do, whether it’s trying out a new restaurant or going to a concert. I love meeting new people, which makes me a great bartender because I enjoy talking to customers.”

What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of work?

Bartending is a job that requires you to be social and interact with customers. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable in these situations. They also want to know if your hobbies or interests align with the bar’s brand. In your answer, share two or three things about yourself that show who you are as a person. Try to choose things that will interest the employer.

Example: “I love reading and writing. I have been working on my own novel for years now, but I haven’t had time to finish it. I am hoping that bartending at this bar will give me some extra time to work on it. Another hobby of mine is photography. I would love to take photos of the drinks and food here.”

What do you think makes a great cocktail?

Bartenders need to be able to create unique and delicious cocktails for their customers. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills needed to make a quality drink. In your answer, explain what ingredients you would use in a cocktail to make it stand out from others. Share one or two of your favorite drinks that you know how to make well.

Example: “I think a great cocktail is all about the balance of flavors. I always try to choose spirits with different notes so they complement each other. For example, I love making a Moscow Mule because it has three distinct flavors—ginger, lime and vodka. Each flavor stands out but also blends together perfectly. Another thing I think makes a good cocktail is fresh ingredients. I always keep my bar stocked with seasonal fruits and vegetables.”

What is your favorite type of drink to make?

Bartenders often have their own favorite drinks to make, and the interviewer wants to know if you can create a variety of cocktails. Your answer should include two or three types of drinks that you enjoy making most.

Example: “I love creating specialty martinis because I get to use fresh ingredients and garnishes. I also really enjoy making frozen drinks because they’re fun to make and serve. My favorite drink to make is a pina colada because it’s so easy to make but always looks impressive.”

What do you like most about bartending?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and what you enjoy doing. Bartending is a fun job, but it can also be stressful at times. Knowing what motivates you as a bartender can help employers decide if you are the right fit for their establishment. When answering this question, think about what aspects of bartending you enjoy most. Consider mentioning some of the benefits of working in this industry.

Example: “I love interacting with people while making drinks. I find that bartending is a great way to meet new people every day. I am always learning something new from my customers, which makes each shift unique. I also really enjoy being able to make someone’s night by creating a special drink for them. It feels good knowing that I made someone’s experience better.”

What do you least like about bartending?

This question can help an interviewer understand what aspects of the job you enjoy and which ones you don’t. Bartending is a highly social position, so it’s important to be honest about your least favorite parts of the job. You should focus on the physical or mental challenges that come with bartending rather than the customers.

Example: “The thing I like least about bartending is when we get really busy. It can be hard to keep track of who ordered what drink and how much they paid for it. There are also times when there aren’t enough bartenders to cover all the orders, so I have to multitask between making drinks and serving them. This can lead to mistakes in my orders, which I dislike.”

Do you have any suggestions on how we could improve our bar’s menu or operations?

Bartenders often have a lot of experience in the bar industry, so employers ask this question to see if you can bring new ideas and insights to their business. When answering this question, it’s important to be respectful of your potential employer and only mention changes that you would implement yourself.

Example: “I think one way you could improve your menu is by adding more craft beers. I know many customers are looking for local brews, and offering more options might attract some new clientele. Another suggestion I have is to consider hiring more bartenders on Friday and Saturday nights. It gets pretty busy here, and sometimes there aren’t enough staff members to keep up with demand.”

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